Media elitism in Berkeley

The most interesting question on last week’s panel at the Berkeley Hillside club on old and new media was raised by John Markoff of the New York Times. Why, he asked, at a time of great democratization of media, are we seeing increasing concentrations of wealth and power? Why isn’t media democratization translating into political and economic democratization?
A few thoughts toward answers:
* Knowledge doesn’t become power directly. People who are getting information from Glenn Greenwald’s blog about the slow parliamentary strangling of the NSA warrantless wiretapping investigation still needs coordinated action in order to persuade legislators.
* Blogs are widespread and cheap. But tools for more direct organizing — email tools, databases, volunteer management tools — are harder for volunteers to come by and harder to use.
* Online organizing needs to be coordinated with in-person organizing and persuasion in order to have enough effect.
Aside from that interesting question, I agree with Scott Rosenberg that the panel would have benefited from breaking out of the tired old “old media vs. new media” frame.

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